Mark Monahan, Executive Director of the Ottawa Bluesfest — *ahem* the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest — had a lot to sing about on Tuesday night.

Horrible music pun, I know.

I should have toned it down. Especially since he is a rockin’ client of ours. Duly noted.

No? Not even a little grin?

Okay, back to this week’s lyrics.

Monahan and his merry band of festival conductors, marched into the Ottawa War Museum to announce the headliners for the 2012 RBC (sorry branding
police) Bluesfest.

If you haven’t ever been, ask one of the 350,000 annual attendees what it’s like to attempt to consume 2,500 acts and performers in 12 days. I doubt I have 2,500 performers on my “Walkman.” (That’s what I call my Nano.)

This year’s lineup aptly fits the festival theme of Electro-fied. A new Electro Stage is featuring a high-tech wave of performers, including Paul Oakenfold, MSTRKRFT, Tyga and more.
Also appearing will be my Super Bowl “neighbour” Snoop Dogg…I am definitely heading up July 10 to let him know I am “living young and wild and free.” Or to invite him to go streaking through the quad…. Thankfully the Old School theme won’t be overshadowed by the electronic sounds with the likes of 10CC, Alice Cooper, John Mellencamp, Blue Rodeo and Iron Maiden on the bill.

Not appearing this year will be long time essential, the “paper ticket.” Bluesfest is going the way of Coachella and Bonnaroo, ditching paper for a cashless payment system called the RFID Bluesband. The Bluesband is a dynamo of a wristband filled with technology that I can’t even spell. It will serve as your electronic entry pass, your virtual wallet for concessions and a skin activated Breathalyzer. Okay maybe I made the last part up.

Interestingly, the Montréal-based company behind it, IntellogiX, is one of the leaders in North America in this space. Oui Canadians may not be able to win back the Stanley Cup, but oui can still win at high tech!

Beyond being an amazing festival, Bluesfest has several year-round cultural initiatives including Blues in the Schools. Tuesday’s launch featured a young star who was seated at the table of the man who apparently discovered Avril Lavigne.

This prodigy, Emma McNichols, brought down the house with her rendition of Adele’s Someone Like You. I love this song so much I’ve pondered taking piano lessons just to be able to summon my inner Adele when I’ve had too many Peronis. Which I discovered in the UK. Get the pale ale Adele connection? Okay, me neither.

In a room packed with musicians, agents, critics and fans, Emma received one of the most spontaneous standing ovations I’ve ever witnessed. Will she be onstage at Bluesfest this year? Give her time. She just turned 13.